December 17th, 2015

5 Outdoor Alternatives to Your Indoor Gym Routine

5 Outdoor Alternatives to Your Indoor Gym Routine

Don’t let a busy travel schedule keep you from staying fit. Switch up your everyday gym routine with these five outdoor activities. 


Just because you’re finally taking that well-deserved holiday in the sun doesn’t mean you should skip your morning fitness routine. After all, habits are tough to form and easy to break. At the same time, though, it’s only natural that you’d want to optimize your time in a new city. Instead of skipping the gym completely, take your workout outdoors. From challenging nature hikes to reflective yoga in the park, start getting creative with your workouts. Here are five fun ways to stay fit no matter where your wandering feet take you.

1. Time your Run.

Running on a treadmill can get dull fast, so why not take your workout outside? If you’re somewhere warm, try to run before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. when the sun isn’t super strong. The bonus: Those times coincide with sunrise and sunset. Take out your map, get a feel for your new surroundings, and maybe see if there’s a bridge with a running lane or a trail that winds through the city. Watching the sunrise as you jog will undoubtedly give you inspiration for the day; running along with the sunset will make for some beautiful memories.

2. Hit the Trails.

Depending on where you are in the world and when you visit, trails offer a great way to stay in shape. Find out if your destination has any well-marked running, hiking, or walking trails. If so, head toward the closest one (convenience is key with any workout), or do a little research ahead to time and determine the best terrain for your skill level. Chances are, you’ll take in some stellar views during and at the end of your hike. We can’t think of a better reward for a tough workout than a picture-perfect moment, can you?

3. Pack a Picnic (and a Punch!).

Many cities have at least one public park, and it just might make the perfect setting for an inspiring and challenging mat workout. Yoga and Pilates mats come in travel-friendly sizes that can fit in your luggage but if you don’t want to bring one, a patch of grass will do. Start with the basics, like squats and lunges, and end with stretching. And since you’ll already be at the park, pack a picnic full of local treats that’ll satisfy your post-workout appetite and allow you to fully take in the scenery. If you prefer your workouts to be a bit more private, plan to get to the park in the early morning.

4. Channel your Inner Child.

Back in primary school, workouts were fun: We hula-hooped, we jump-roped, and we burned calories while doing so. So why did we stop? Pick up where you left off with some nostalgic exercises on the road. True, hula-hoops aren’t exactly travel-friendly, but jump ropes certainly are. Toss one into your suitcase, and take it out whenever you have some spare time between sightseeing, meals, and photo ops. Jumping rope will get your body moving and your heart pumping. This full-body, cardiovascular workout will get your body moving and your heart pumping, while burning plenty of calories and releasing those all-powerful endorphins.

5. Get Involved Like a Local.

Sometimes the best way to feel like a local is to live like one. Sign up for an outdoor fitness class in the park, or learn a new skill that involves kicking up your heart rate. This is especially great for solo travelers, as you’re bound to make a friend or two in the process. For those staying in or near the beach, sign up for a group surfing class or a Stand-Up Paddle-boarding (SUP) lesson. Or perhaps book a spot in a trapeze class overlooking the water. After all, traveling goes hand-in-hand with testing your limits, and breaking outside your comfort zone is sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

No matter what type of workout suits your style, you can’t go wrong with one of these out-of-the-box options anywhere you land. Do you have any other fitness tips for travelers? Tell us in the comments!

Megan Eileen McDonough is an award-winning journalist and founder of Bohemian Trails, a blog for the savvy and stylish traveler. 

Sign Up Today

Sign up and you'll also receive helpful packing and travel tips, vacation ideas, up to date info on the latest product innovations and special offers.